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Radio Effectiveness – The Star of Advertising

Commercial radio is a sure-fire way to speak to millions of people via a medium that they trust. Although often shunned for more modern methods, radio still prevails in advertising. Although often overlooked, radio and online is a powerful media mix.

Return on Investment (ROI)

A common goal for many advertisers is to increase the return on investment (ROI) from their advertising spend. Econometric analysis highlights how moving money into radio from other media leads to greater returns at a total campaign level at no extra cost.

According to Radiocentre, radio produces £7.70 revenue ROI for every pound spent – second only to TV overall and higher in several product categories including retail, finance, travel and automotive.

Using radio with other media

The components of a successful advertising campaign include the following:

Impactful creative

A clear call to action


Consistent coverage of key points

Low cost production and audience delivery

Radio utilises these and plays a highly effective role for an advertiser on its own but placing this alongside other media can create huge impact for your brand, enhancing an overall campaign performance.

The most obvious combination is radio and television. Both mediums are widely consumed on a daily basis making it the most powerful and much used media combination, accounting for a high share of the average consumer’s media day. According to Radiocentre, radio is often used to broaden the impact of a TV campaign, exploiting strong audio brand cues to readily bring the brand to mind, triggering visual recall of a TV commercial. Think Go Compare or Chicken Tonight (you’re signing, now aren’t you?).

Probably the second most utilised media combination is radio and online. According to a study taken by Touchpoints in 2017, 16% of time listened to the radio is accompanied by being online. With the increase of AI and advancement of mobile, this will have rapidly grown in the last two years. Taking this into consideration, listeners almost instantaneously respond online to something that they have heard online.

Take retail for example:

Based on Ebiquity’s normative data, retail sector brands that advertised on radio saw up to a £3.01 profit return for £1 spend. That ROI was based on Radio as a primary media. The retailers were more than likely running PPC advertising and paid social. Radiocentre state that when a consumer is relaxing the radio can increase a brands awareness by 72%, more than likely with a mobile device in hand.

Consistent advertising (without the cost)

Historically, it is assumed that to make a big impact consistently you will need a big budget.


Mediums like out of home radio have, for a while, delivered low cost audience per thousand. According to Ebiquity, radio advertising delivers an average CPT (cost per thousand listeners) of £1.54. Out of home delivered an average CPT of £3.03.

But that is just the average price of airtime or advertising space itself, what about the cost of producing the advert?

According to the advertising decision makers interviewed by Ebiquity, radio production costs only accounted for 2.7% of all media cost. Take this with a pinch of salt. Your budget will move and change depending on your marketing objectives but, in terms of short term sales response campaigns (which won’t run for extended periods of time), the information provided here should prove that you can effectively advertise your offering without breaking the bank.

Context is key

It’s 6pm, you’re driving home from work, it’s been a long day and you really cannot be bothered to cook. The next thing you hear is that chime of the McDonalds jingle. Que turning into that drive-thru and buying that cheeseburger.

This is context advertising, aligning a message with an activity, in this example, the weekday rush hour.

According to research conducted by Differentology, brands like McDonalds, Heinz and Deliveroo saw a sales uplift of 51% when they focused on targeting their customers when they were engaged in a relevant activity.

A good advertiser will ensure that your message is reaching the right people at key times of the day by putting them in the context of the consumer. Will your key consumer be listening to radio at work? Will they be doing the school run? Will they be listening as they plough a field?! A brand will know their audience and what they will be doing, therefore making sure the advert hits at the correct touchpoint.

The time of day is not always the focus in advertising, sometimes it can be situational. The morning that Thomas Cook announced it’s collapse, Ryanair were advertising cut-price flights every hour on the radio. A coincidence? Or a very clever advertising placement hoping to help panicking Thomas Cook customers?

According to Ebiquity, Radio is ‘the most flexible medium as it can be used to target audience by geography, demographics, context time of day, day of week and addressability for listeners on connect devices’ .

For out more information about how radio can improve your ROI, contact one of our Account Managers here.

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